Friday, February 5, 2016

Flash Fiction - The Ocean of Sand

Hello everybody,

Remember that Flash Fiction challenge I mentioned in my update?  Well, this is how it works.  Rachelle from The Ink Loft paired each of us participants together. We give someone a prompt and receive a prompt from someone else, then we write something from what we were given, in under 1,000 words.  I received a dialogue prompt from Emmerayne at Writing in Rivendell.  This is how I perceived it, and to be honest, this story gets pretty weird.  Here's the prompt:
"How can you possibly be okay with this?"
"Quite simple, really. I'm realistic." 
And this is my Flash Fiction: 

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The desert caravan made its way across the sand dunes, wind blowing sediment into their masked faces and whipping at their wrapped ankles. With the sun beating down on the travelers, their water supply ran low and dehydration was beginning to be a problem. Piper and Stuart, two wanderers, had joined up with this caravan. Yet, they themselves had run out of the water in their canteens.
Piper's camel had just stopped and caused a camel-jam for the caravan behind her. Everyone had to halt and wait for her to get moving again. The dry air made it hard to breathe; the sand below their feet shifted as they trekked across the ridge of the sand dunes. Everyone's feet had grown sores and the skin rubbed against their sandals making plenty of blisters.

Stuart helped the children within the caravan; some of them couldn't bear the harsh conditions and fell over quickly. He would pick them up and carry them on his back for a while until they were able to walk again. A few of the children were allowed to sit on top of their family's camel.

In the middle of nowhere, there was no water, no shelter, and no place to take a rest. They were in a setting where there was nothing to be seen for miles upon miles. Only dust and sand, clouds and turtles.

Piper pointed to a boulder off into the distance. The rock formation jutted out of the sand. A large shadow encased the ground below it, engulfing the heat. The caravan walked another half an hour before coming upon the formation. Everyone gathered underneath it like a massive umbrella, keeping the sun off of their skin.

"Do you see that?" Piper asked. Her gaze looked directly up at the sky.

"Are those flying turtles?" one man asked. "Couldn't be, we're in a desert!" another one answered.

Stuart glanced up into the sky and saw a multitude of flying figures in front of the blue expanse. They floated around gracefully as if were gliding through a jet stream. "Piper, we don't have much water left. We're all dehydrated and seeing things."

"What do you mean?!" Piper's mouth gaped open with stupefaction, she couldn't believe what came out of his mouth. The fact that she and the other people around them could see flying turtles in the sky was crazy for her to think that he couldn't comprehend it. "How can you possibly be okay with this?"

"Quite simple, really. I'm realistic." His expression was smug, face showing that he was proud of himself for being the only "sane" person in their group of twenty or so.

"What do you mean?" is it even feasible for us to see the same mirage?" Piper asked, her curious side unveiled. And that would get Stuart going off on a rant.

His face went blank, she was right. Is it scientifically possible to see the same crazy visions in the middle of a desert? Sure it is if everyone was on the same mindset. Right? He looked up again at the flying turtles and shook his head, "They aren't real."

The girl stared at him with disbelief. "I don't understand how you can say that when they look as realistic as you and me." Piper watched as the sky-faring sea turtles danced across the blue sky. They were all gray, almost white colored. One by one, each of the reptiles moved across the desert plain, through the air and dusty atmosphere. "You are a very confusing person, Stuart."

"I am a realist, I don't see things the way you do. Everything to me has to make sense or some kind of logic." Stuart leaned against the rough surface of the boulder and sighed. "If those things were real, what good would it do any of us?"

"They could be traveling towards a waterhole." Piper smiled at the thought of drinking something; she licked her lips and laughed.

"Or, they are just a figment of our imaginations and we end up diving into another sand dune." Stuart pulled out a flute from his sack and started to play it, but then he paused to speak. "I think everyone should get some rest. It'll be dark in an hour and it might be a good idea to travel at night." After that idea, the caravan was temporarily stopped at the boulder for what seemed like an eternity for the kids. But Piper kept the young ones running around and playing games together. After a while, Stuart was the only one still awake and he started to play his flute again quietly.

As if it was like a switch, a small, white, sea turtle had glided down to listen to Stuart play. It landed right next to his legs and nestled down on Stuart's lap. For the man who said they weren't real, he was really enjoying the reptilian company he was getting. He stroked the turtle's shell and smiled. If Piper saw him right now, she would probably have a fit. The night had started and it was already half-way till midnight before he decided to let the caravan sleep and gain their energy for the next day. A day full of surprises to come.

The little sea turtle closed his eyes, resting its flippers from the aggressive winds. Blowing sand across the desert, the jet streams moved sediment around like a pillar of steam. Same as the sea turtles, they follow the breeze through the desert to their destination. By the time the rest of the caravan awoke, the sea turtle stream was gone and only left a clear blue sky for the sun to beat down on the travelers again. Another day, another journey across the dry landscape. Going to search for water one thought was all on their minds: did they just imagine the turtles in the ocean of sand?


  1. Wow! How very interesting! Who would have thought that prompt would produce something like this.
    Having just finished reading Dune by Frank Herbert, I've been thinking an awful lot about deserts and whatnot- so it was fun to see that element again in this story.
    I enjoyed your characters, Piper and Stuart. You did a good job of giving us a feel for their personalities and relationship in a very short time. Their dynamics imply a lot about them, which is really the art of Flash Fiction, if you ask me. Being able to suggest that you've read more than you actually have through simple wording. :D
    As with most short stories, this made me want to read "the rest of it"- that is, the part that exists only in your mind. Well done, Anna Jolene!

    1. Hey, Thank you! And wow, that's just amazing. Well, I have been wanting to write something in a desert setting but haven't found the right time to do so. But your prompt really helped, and thank you for giving me a great prompt for my first time. I will definitely be doing this challenge again in the future.